I recently attended the “Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) 2017” in Bangalore and came away suitably impressed with the efforts the Indian Government is putting towards engaging its vast and diverse diaspora. As should be expected, digital technology was evident in all facets of the program. Tagging on the program was a visit to the vibrant startup ecosystem in Bengaluru (ref my recent blog).
For those of us who periodically attend internal events, seminars and conferences, use of an “event App” is table stakes. Recognizing this, the Indian government decided to introduce a digital App for use by delegates of PBD. The mobile app was well received by event goers, and coupled with the fact that the venue had free Wi-Fi, the free event app proved to be a useful tool for delegates on the go.
After the session, I interacted with Balakrishna (BK) and Sachin, cofounders of Tapon Technologies that developed the event management App. BK, who happens to be an old friend of mine talked about the market for “event management” solutions and Apps. An event app can also be a good source of data and analytics, gathering inputs on attendee preferences and engagement, and can be integrated with other capabilities.
Technology to enable required capabilities exists, and can be enhanced as required. However, the challenge is with the business model: Many global events like PBD and other trade conferences are held about once a year. An App for use by such an event needs to be customized with branding, content and data, and has a shelf life primarily during the event. This means, the “marketing” and customer engagement has to begin much before an event, and has to be orchestrated with the event plan, concluding with data analysis after the event.
Like many startups, Tapon Technologies is hoping to grow organically and has succeeded thus far by word-of-mouth. The platform is digital, and not surprisingly, the marketing of the tool should be digital. Moving to the next step will require the solution to be visible on search engines. For example, if I am organizing a global event, I will probably start by googling “event management app” and scan through the top listings that appear in my search.
So, what would a simple digital media toolkit for a startup like Tapon Technologies look like? At the simplest, social media tools would include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinrest accounts among others.
Creating accounts on such social media platforms is the logical first step. This may also involve engaging customers and prospects by regularly updating content, posting tips, ideas and blogs. Of course, such social media engagement comes at a cost. Tagging on the media hype over the event – that happens to be using the App – with a press release and other announcements is another low-budget technique.
For instance, the media picked up on the fact that a mobile app was used for the “first time during a PBD event.
“A mobile app for convenience of delegates has been introduced for the first time. The app PBD 2017 is available in Google Play and Apple App Store and can be installed free of cost. The app will update the delegates about program and other highlights of PBD 2017 and will give real-time updates of the event. Coupled with the fact that the venue will have free Wi-Fi, the app is expected to prove to be a useful tool for delegates on the go. The app is also eco-friendly and in keeping with technology of the day.” – business-standard.com
Bottomline: Startups, with limited resources struggle for visibility. They should be creative in tagging on to any media coverage they can get!